Effectively Leverage Social Media During A Natural Disaster
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The recent hurricane drives home the importance of small business Social Media. Even with little time and limited Internet access, a Business can share with its customers its status and projected slow-downs because of a natural disaster or other unexpected incidents.
Few other methods are as effective at reaching a large population in a brief time in a highly shareable of a format. There are several key considerations for a business as it incorporates social media into its disaster preparedness plan.
What are the contingencies for gaining internet access?
Often immediately before and after a natural disaster the typical modes of gaining internet access may be impaired. Therefore, as you determine how to leverage small business social media, it’s vital to brainstorm ahead of time potential options for gaining internet access. Often cellular communications are still possible to a limited extent immediately after a disaster. However, sending many communications via cell phone is not likely to be as effective as having an air card through a wireless carrier available for a laptop. Further, it can be helpful to have a general understanding of where internet hotspots are located.
Depending upon the disaster, business owners and employees may be fleeing an area. This scenario reinforces the importance of having a general plan in place so that if possible those tasked with communicating during and after the disaster can hone the best avenues to gain internet access. For online potential through credit cards, Better Merchant Accounts has the basics laid out.
What individuals will be in charge of communicating with potential customers?
Depending upon the size of an organization, it’s not uncommon to have several individuals in an organization involved in its social media efforts. In the time of a disaster, however, it is typically best if there are fewer people who are tasked with communication. The reason for this advice is communication between members who are posting as well as organization leadership may be limited. Therefore, having several individuals trying to communicate may lead to confusion and appear very disjointed to followers.
Although small business social media followers will likely understand it is a trying time to operate a business, sloppy posting could turn off followers and impact an organization’s posting at any time. Therefore, it’s a great idea to select one individual; optimally someone closely tied to key decision makers, who can communicate brief and clear messages about the status of the organization.
What stories or information has been loaded on the various social media and may need modification?
Social media is a machine of sorts and as such, it is often most efficient to schedule stories some period ahead of time. Often this approach is a time saver, but during a natural disaster, it could be troublesome. For example, if a business had planned to run a Facebook offer or share a discount on Twitter and then finds itself inoperable for a time, the situation is embarrassing at best. Therefore, it is also vital to modify posting time frames if there is warning prior to a natural disaster or gain access and modify them as soon as possible following.
Image Credit: Campo, Colorado by Matt Clark
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